Pool funds setback but 2nd bid still open
A BID FOR up to $2 million in State funds to build a new public swimming pool in Toodyay has been rejected.
However, the Shire of Toodyay is still awaiting the outcome of a separate $4.8 million Federal funding bid for a pool plus other new sports and recreation facilities.Read more
The Federal funding bid is the shire administration’s fourth attempt in three years to convince Canberra to help finance what was originally a much bigger project.
The lack of State funds has reduced the shire’s current funding options to a “worst case scenario” after last November’s rushed council decision to slash the original $23 million project due to cost “errors”.
Without State support, project running costs are budgeted to increase by nearly 20 per cent to $465,000 a year, according to shire documents published last year.
The shire’s failure to secure State funds for the 2018-19 financial year was revealed at last month’s council meeting when Dewars Pool resident Brian Foley used public question time to ask what had happened about pool funding.
Shire CEO Stan Scott said Toodyay’s bid to finance a pool from the State Community Sport and Recreation Facility Fund had not been successful.
The results were announced on February 26 – the day before the council meeting.
Mr Scott said 85 per cent of State funds had gone to metropolitan projects.
The outcome of the shire’s separate bid for $4.8 million from the Commonwealth Building
Better Regions Fund was expected to be known by June this year.
The shire rushed late last year to halve the cost and size of its planned $23 million sport and recreation project to $12 million after Mr Scott revealed that the original costings he recommended to the council – as exposed in the December Herald – were “inaccurate and understated”.
He reported in December that a smaller Federal grant would attract less scrutiny in the “very competitive” funding program.
“Evidence of previous (funding) rounds suggests that you need close to a perfect score to obtain funding,” Mr Scott said.
“While the program may fund up to 50 per cent of a project, the perfect score on the criterion is a maximum of 40 per cent Commonwealth contribution.”
The $4.8 million sought for Toodyay represents 39.7 per cent of the $12.1 million cost of the shire’s scaled-down project.
It includes a 25m swimming pool near the school, a new rectangular pitch for hockey, soccer and rugby, new courts for netball, basketball and tennis, and changerooms.
Fooball and cricket will remain at the traditional Toodyay Showgrounds site.